Posted by: Kate | March 6, 2007

Closed Book

Where has my reading voracity gone?

For the first two and a half decades of my life, there was no better word for my reading habits than “voracious.” I read everything I could get my hands on, memorized the layout of the library, including large chunks of the Dewey Decimal System, and looked upon people who got motion sickness as pitiable and deprived. When I got my learner’s permit, I didn’t know how to get to a single thing in my town because, as a passenger, I had my nose in a book before we backed out of the driveway. It was a way of life.

And now, between a few years of grad school and a few years of parenthood, I don’t want to read new things. I reread fluff and old favorites, but I lack the ambition to dive into something new, even if it’s similar to what I’ve already read. It’s very sad, really. Something I miss about myself, but don’t quite have the motivation to change, just yet.

I’ve reached a similar plateau with movies. I’m content to watch the same ones, or none at all, but have no desire to expand my mind with new ones. I haven’t seen a single thing nominated for an Oscar this year; in fact, the last time I was in a theater was in early 2004, and I’ve only watched one new-to-me video in the past year.

I’ve just sort of burrowed down into a very comfortable, dare I say stagnant pattern. And until it starts to make me uncomfortable to be so comfortable, I’ll probably just stay put.



  1. This same thing has happened to me in regards to movies and TV shows. I still read but now, aside from sexual offender stuff for work, I tend to read even (if it’s possible) “fluffier” stuff. Music has changed as well- I don’t do a lot of the angry white boys yelling music anymore (but do still love Metallica, Tool and that kind of thing, sparingly) and have started to listen to- gulp!- country. It’s a very strange phenomenon for me…

  2. Kate, I’m with you. The best part of being on bedrest when pregnant was that I could read a book or so a day. I haven’t finished a book since though…

    And lol to your not knowing where anything in town was!! We always read in the car, even if just going down the street and when my brother got his driver’s license, he had to phone to get directions home from McDonald’s because he didn’t know his way around town!! ;-D

  3. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sandra Boyington but she ruined it for me.

    And now I find myself pre-reading all these fantasy kids series trying to get my boys to read them.

    And don’t get me started on my vast poker library, I really need to widen my horizons.

    If it’s not poker, kidlit or Janet Evanovich it’s not in my universe.

    I can barely get up with my Entertainment Weekly magazine as well.

    And let’s damn Google Reader while we’re at it. I have in excess of 100 feeds… somebody do an intervention please!

  4. I miss those days of endless pleasure reading….now the only time I have for it is a 30 min. bath after the kids go to bed.

  5. I think it’s a fragmented time issue. It’s hard to read a good novel in 15 minute increments. I’m enjoying reading vicariously through Alyssa, 9, who has caught the reading bug just in the last few months.

  6. I am still in the voracious reader stage, but I am also a SAHM so I have naptime (for now, anyway). I just wish I could knit and read all at once. I’m with you on the movies, though. I like my old favorites, and I am much too lazy to visit the rental store for anything new.

  7. I have trouble reading, too. However, mine seems more that I have difficulty selecting what to read, as there is alot out there that sounds good – is little help, as their recommendation list doesn’t seem to know me very well.

    As for movies, I find it hard to sit down and commit to something for 2 hours. I don’t know why, I think it’s a carryover from grad school when I couldn’t give up 2 hours at one time without feeling like I should be studying (and I have never been able to read and watch simultaneously).

    This reminds me of an idea a coworker had of “Releasing good books into the wild.” Basically, you would leave a good book in a public place with a note for whoever finds it to enjoy and “re-release” it. Sounds like an interesting idea, although it is hard for me to divorce it from littering….

  8. Corey, there’s actually an organization that does that… I’ll have to ask my father what it’s called. Basically you leave a note in the front flap of a book and leave it in a public place. It’s a neat idea, and there’s a website that tracks “sightings” of this group’s books so that you can see if yours travels…

  9. It’s bookcrossing! I found one once – in the Colony Mill, Kate. That was about 3 years ago. hrm, I’d better release it back.

  10. Perhaps a jaunt into something less novelish would spark your voracity once again. Although novels are my favorite pastime(sp); Cable TV is the devil…I only say that cuz I’m way too cheap to sport the cash for 300 channels of infommercials / DVR and a bag of popcorn, I’ve recently gotten my hands on a book comprised of O.Henry’s works. Short story is the gateway. Most of the stories present take a scant 15 to 20 minutes to mull through and most have a great flavor. : )

  11. Sorry, I just popped on following a link from another link and your post struck a chord. I can’t tell you how many times since having kids I’ve gone back to my old favorites; it’s almost like I don’t have to think if I open Pride and Prejudice for the seventeenth time. I already know Mr. Darcy.

    I think it’s just fatigue. I try to go to bed early with the intention of reading but, by then, the idea of anything weightier than The New Yorker just makes me fall asleep instantly and then I am, again, book-less.

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